I’m sure that’s true. Politics is a tough racket and personal insults are part of the deal. Nothing personal, just business as usual. Or so Kerrey says.
Former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey has apologized to Barack Obama for any unintentional insult he committed by raising the Democratic presidential candidate’s Muslim heritage while endorsing rival candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Kerrey sent a letter to Obama on Wednesday, lauding the Illinois senator’s qualifications to be president and saying that he never meant to harm his candidacy. Kerrey told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that he sent the letter on his own and had not spoken to Clinton or her campaign about the comments he made Sunday in Iowa.
"What I found myself getting into in Iowa – and it was my own fault – it was the wrong moment to do it and it was insulting," Kerrey told the AP. "I meant no disrespect at all."
"I answered a question about your qualifications to be president in a way that has been interpreted as a backhanded insult of you. I assure you I meant to do just the opposite," Kerrey wrote.
As a former presidential candidate himself, Kerrey ought to know know the impact of his words. And I suspect he does.
John Aravosis is willing to go even farther, beyond, it seems to me, the edge of reason in ascribing motives to Kerrey:
Kerrey isn’t just trying to slur Obama and make Americans wonder whether Obama has terrorist ties – I mean, using the phrase "Islamic Manchurian Candidate"? – but it’s also incredibly racist. Kerrey is race-baiting Muslims, American-Muslims, implying that Obama is one of them, and we all know that no one good wants to be one of them, nudge nudge wink wink.
And one more point, Kerrey says that Obama and his family "have chosen Christianity"? I’m a Christian, I didn’t "choose" Christianity. That implies that I was something before I was a Christian – oh, I don’t know, say, Muslim? – and then decided to "choose" Christianity instead.
Christians don’t choose Christianity every day, John? I respectfully disagree. In this much Kerrey is correct: Assuming Barack Obama’s beliefs are heartfelt, he’s chosen to follow Christ, just as all the rest of us have.
That Bob Kerrey chose to smear Obama anyway is an unpleasant reminder of what American politics are like when the gloves come off. It’s also a small hint of how far the Clinton camp is willing to go to win the presidency. That is, all the way into the mud.